Just like the Saudi women who competed in the 2012 Olympics for the first time, this novel draws on the strength of four exceptional women under the constraints of a patriarchal religious society. It is an inspirational and powerful historic epic, set prior to the siege of Masada in 70AD. The intense, evocative narrative captures raw determination; its haunting prose propelling me through a marathon of emotions.
I would not move when my father shouted at me, or when he raised his hand to me. In the end my father had to bury them. It was a woman’s place to ready bodies for the Angel of Death and chant lamentations, then to set herself aside until the spectre of death was no longer with her, but I refused. Welts rose across my back and shoulders when my father beat me, but I would not be his dog on this day. My father shouted out that I was a coward, afraid to see the needs of the dead, but he was wrong. I wasn’t afraid to be unclean any more than I was afraid of the dead. I only feared that if I held Ben Simon for too long, I wouldn’t be able to let him go.